We haven’t slept in our own bed since 2006 when we took it apart and put in a storage space in New Jersey as we embarked on our Trans-Americas Journey. We did bring along our down pillows, however, as a concession to comfort and a good night’s sleep since we know how unappealing cheap guesthouse pillows can be. Unfortunately, the pillows from our bed are huge and, after almost five years on the road, pretty worn out and funky smelling. So when Hummingbird Travel Gear, a division of Cascade Designs, offered us a few products to use and review we jumped at the chance to test-sleep their Hummingbird Compressible Pillows which are smaller and lighter than our old pillows.

Hummingbird Compressible Travel Pillow review

But we were skeptical. How could a 12″ by 16″ (30cm by 41cm) 7 ounce (198g) synthetic-core pillow takes the place of our full size down pillows? Our main concern was that the loft wouldn’t be enough to actually sleep on comfortably all night or to use behind our backs while we’re sitting up in bed working on our computers as we do for hours at a time (we’re doing it right now).

While compressed, the pillows are about the size and shape of a large meatball hero. Uncompress them, however, and they fluff up remarkably quickly and remarkably fluffily (is that a word?). Though the pillows do compress down a bit by the time morning rolls around, they’re comfortable enough to sleep on all night and robust enough to support our backs while we work.

The Hummingbird Compressible Travel Pillow in compressed form (left) and fluffed form (right).

The fleecy pillowcase is nice and soft too, and, unlike down, the synthetic stuffing dries fast either after washing or after being used in a damp environment like the beach or the jungle where we spend an awful lot of time. Re-compressing them is a snap too.

Over the past month we’ve used our Hummingbird Compressible Pillows to supplement (or replace) feeble or dodgy pillows in cheap hotel rooms and also when we go camping–most recently in Parque Nacional Cusuco in Honduras with the awesome Juan Carlos Paz of Jungle Xpedition where they were way more comfortable than the balled up clothes we usually use as a camping pillow.

One puzzling con is that the pillowcase does not come off the pillow. This means that every time you want to wash the case you have to wash the whole pillow. Even so, we are so satisfied with these little pillows that we recently donated our full-size pillows to Las Brumas/Casa de Cristal, a group of bungalows run as a community tourism project located about half a mile from the active, classic black cone of Izalco volcano in El Salvador. We know they’ll be happy (and appreciated) there.


Cascade Designs gave us two Hummingbird Collapsible Pillows to use and review


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